Checking In - A March Update

March 12, 2014

Dear Friends,

I write to you today to give a brief overview on a number of issues and events currently going on in Washington. Due to Election year guidelines from the Committee on House Administration, I will be limited in the number of updates I am allowed to send over the next several months. In order to stay in touch, please sign up to become an eNewsletter subscriber.

Executive overreach
I am deeply concerned with what I believe to be an extensive constitutional overreach by this Administration. From selecting which facets of Obamacare to enforce, delay or ignore, to unilaterally changing welfare work requirements, and refusing to enforce immigration laws, I find this Administration's behavior extremely troubling. In an effort to force the President to comply with the law as explicitly required by the Constitution, I have cosponsored the STOP Resolution and the ENFORCE the Law Act to bring legal action against these transgressions and restore our systems of checks and balances as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. While the President has a pen and a phone, the Congress has the Constitution.

South Carolina Energy Production
I strongly believe American energy production is one of the biggest factors that will get our economy moving again and put people back to work. Energy production here at home has the potential to bring tens of thousands of well-paying jobs to South Carolina, grow state revenues to help repair our roads, bridges and infrastructure projects, and lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources. Energy production grows the economy at no cost to the government while helping to combat the rise in gas and grocery prices. I have fought in Congress to include South Carolina in the next round of offshore lease sales, as well as introduced legislation that puts forward an all-the-above national energy policy. The Administration has responded favorably by allowing for seismic testing in the Atlantic so that we can update our multi-decade old data on energy resources.

International Crises
There are currently multiple international crises occurring at this very moment. Recently, protests in Venezuela have arisen against certain economic and social issues in the government. Although the protests were peaceful, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has responded with deadly force.

On the other side of the world, due to pressure from the Russian government, Ukraine recently opted out of an Association Agreement with the European Union – something the people of Ukraine and government have been moving towards for some time. This caused widespread protests to arise, met quickly by violent police push back resulting in the deaths of over 80 people. Last month, masked armed forces took over the Crimean parliament, and just recently, the Russian parliament voted to deploy Russian troops on Ukraine. Now with the Russian military occupying the Crimean region of Ukraine, the illegitimate Crimean “government” has singled they want to become part of Russia. This has caused much international tension, and Russia’s actions resemble the Soviet  Union more than a modern day 21st century nation.

While I’m not in support of U.S. military intervention in either situation, I believe that the United States plays an important role as countries like Venezuela and Ukraine strive to be more free. For these two countries, this is their ‘1776 moment.’

IRS Targeting
Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a continuation of a previous hearing investigating the IRS’ targeting of Americans for their political beliefs. Once again, Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS tax-exempt unit, refused to cooperate with House Members on the panel during questioning of the politization of the IRS. Although she has already admitted Tea Party organizations were wrongfully targeted she continues to claim the Fifth Amendment and refuses to testify. The Laurens County Tea Party was among those targeted, and one of the organization’s leaders, Dianne Belsom, previously testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on these wrongful actions. Here are seven more questions Lois Lerner would not answer in last week’s hearing. The Committee is currently considering whether to charge Ms. Lerner with contempt of Congress.

District Tour
Two weeks ago I wrapped up a great tour of the Third District, making stops in Saluda, Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Greenwood counties. I heard a lot from families and individuals concerned with the Obama economy, businesses doing great things despite burdensome Washington regulations and what ObamaCare has done to their health care plans and costs. We have a lot of work to do to get government working for the people again, not against them. I am already looking forward to my next district tour after next week.

Blessing and Liberty,

Jeff Duncan
Member of Congress